Hepatitis A is on the rise in Florida. In fact, earlier this month, state health officials declared a public health emergency. The good news is that Hepatitis A is preventable! Here is what you need to know about the disease to help keep you and your loved ones safe.
Hepatitis A is a very contagious infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). People usually catch HAV when they eat or drink something that has been exposed to stool from someone who has the virus. Adults who have HAV will have symptoms like: fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and jaundice (yellow eyes and skin, dark urine). While HAV is rarely dangerous, the infection and the symptoms can last a few weeks to months.
The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated! Contact your local health department for a free or low-cost vaccine, or, call the Hepatitis A information line, Monday–Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM, toll free: 1-844-CALL-DOH (844-225-5364). Or email: HepA@flhealth.gov.
Another great way to prevent HAV is washing your hands. (Alcohol-based sanitizers are not effective in killing the virus!) Wash your hands before eating or preparing food. Wash your hands after using the restroom, changing a diaper, coughing or sneezing, preparing food, eating or drinking, and touching people or public surfaces. Wash your hands with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.
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